There are times when your vehicle will not start even when all the lights are turned on and a clicking noise can be heard when the key is turned. Scenarios like this can be quite inconvenient, especially if you are running late for an appointment.
When your car refuses to start but it gives off a clicking sound, the cause can be traced to a cheap ignition switch, a bad battery, a faulty starter motor, or a malfunctioning alternator. Although dealing with these car problems can be challenging, understanding the underlying causes can make even the most complex problem appear simple.
Luckily, not all vehicle problems. Here we will discuss steps you should take if your car makes a clicking noise but refuses to start.
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Types of Clicking Sounds Cars Make, What They Mean & How to Resolve Them
Analyzing the clicking sound that comes from your car’s engine can be difficult because it can be caused by a variety of factors. However, to make diagnosing the problem easily and offer possible solutions, we have determined that the number of clicking sounds you hear is a good indicator of the cause of the problem.
1. Single Click
A single click is most likely caused by electrical problems with your vehicle’s charging system. When your car’s engine makes a single click, it usually indicates a faulty starter relay. This might also point to an ignition system problem; this could be the case of a faulty spark plug or a damaged ignition solenoid.
To identify and resolve this issue, follow the steps below.
Step 1: Locate the Starter Motor
The starter motor is located near the bottom of the engine compartment, where your engine and transmission are connected. After identifying it, go to the next step.
Step 2: Examine the Starter
If the starter pinion gear becomes stuck, the mechanic will try to free it. The mechanic would also determine whether the starter solenoid or relay of the starter motor needed to be replaced.
Step 3: Restart Your Vehicle After Replacing the Faulty Starter Motor
If your starter is broken and cannot be repaired, the mechanic will replace it and test your vehicle to see if it starts without making a clicking noise.
2. Multiple clicks
When you turn on your car, the engine starter makes multiple clicks, indicating that your battery is completely dead. Even though there is enough charge for the vehicle’s electronic circuit to function, you cannot start the engine because more power is required to turn it back on.
The multiple clicks are slightly different from the single click, however, with knowledge of the right steps to take they can also be resolved.
Follow the steps below to diagnose and resolve this problem.
Step 1: Try to Jumpstart the Vehicle
If you notice multiple clicks on your car, the first thing is to jumpstart the vehicle. If it starts and then stops, the alternator may be faulty. If it starts and runs, you should drive around for a few minutes to recharge the battery before parking it and putting it on a trickle charger.
Furthermore, you may have avoided knocking if it starts up without a hitch the next time. If not, proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Check the Battery Cables and Wiring
This quick and crucial diagnostic process. Verify that all of the car units’ cables and wiring connections are correctly positioned and in good working order.
Step 3: Check the Connections on the Battery Cables
It is also critical to use a good instruction manual for cleaning corroded battery terminals. Then tighten the connectors if they’re loose.
Step 4: Measure the Voltage of the Battery Using a Multimeter
The battery level is examined in this crucial step. A fully charged battery should read 12.6 volts when the engine is off; while moving, it should read around 13.7-14.7 volts. If this is not the case, the car battery will require recharging or replacement.
If the issue still exists after changing or renewing the battery, it is probably the result of a malfunctioning alternator, so you should check it out and have it fixed.
6 Common Reasons Why Your Car Won’t Stop Clicking When You Try Starting It
There are a number of things that can cause your car to click when you try to turn on the ignition, all of which are simple fixes that can quickly be resolved. Some of these causes are:
1. Dead Battery
Weak batteries are the primary cause of the clicking noise and inability to start. When you try to start the car and hear clicking sounds coming from the engine compartment, this means that the battery has enough charge to turn on the solenoid (which causes the clicking sounds), but not enough to power the starter.
Although your car’s electrical accessories, such as the headlights and wipers, may function normally, the starter motor requires a large amount of current to kickstart. This is why, despite hearing the click, your car battery won’t have enough electric signals to start.
2. Insufficient Current in the Starter Motor
The starter motor is one of the most frequently replaced components. Its purpose is to keep an engine running while mechanical means are used.
However, it may only succeed if properly maintained or overloaded with sufficient current during normal operation. If this is not the case, the starter motor may not start the engine or may fail.
If there is a clicking sound when the ignition is turned on, your starter motor may be defective. This means your starter is failing and you should head to an auto repair shop right away.
3. Corrosion/Rust of Battery Terminals
When you attempt to start the car engine, the starter solenoid may click if there is insufficient current flow. Even if your car’s battery is in good condition, current flow may be limited by a loose electrical connection, a frayed wire, or corrosion on the battery terminals.
Battery corrosion is an issue that frequently arises, particularly if the car battery is old. Corrosion is a result of battery acid reacting with the metal terminals, which reduces current flow and causes contact loss.
When corrosion is noticed, clean the impacted connector and terminal with sandpaper. Check the voltage at the starter with a multimeter as well. The resistance should be 0 ohms or close to it, and the battery voltage should be 12 volts or higher.
4. Faulty Alternator Unit
When you turn the ignition switch to the “on” position and your car starts, but you hear a single loud clicking sound from the engine compartment, the alternator may be failing.
When an alternator stops working, it could be due to a loss of charge capacity. Alternators typically fail due to worn-away output wires caused by vibration or mechanical strain.
The source of the faulty alternator will be visible in the engine compartment of your vehicle. Take note of any loose or loose-fitting bolts or screws on the vehicle’s machine and inspect them for wear, damage, or cracks, as these are common signs of failed alternator bearings.
5. Deterioration of the Connector Wires
A car’s wiring harness, including the main power connector, provides the necessary current to all vehicle components. The connector is made of solid copper wire that has been wrapped in a rubber boot that serves as an insulating sleeve. It may deteriorate over time, causing a loss of electrical current.
If your car won’t start or charge after being parked for an extended period, a faulty connection at one or more of your vehicle’s electrical connectors could be to blame. These connectors, which are located on the engine block and at the battery, should then be replaced immediately.
6. Engine Failure
A seized engine usually results in no cranking and a persistent single-clicking sound. If you try to start the engine while it is in this state, it will not start and the starter solenoid will click.
The three main causes of engine failure are a lack of lubrication, insufficient maintenance, and hydro lock. This is common when an engine abruptly shuts down with a loud knocking noise and then refuses to start. Hence, try lubricating the engine and restarting it.
A car that makes a rapid clicking noise but will not start could result in various problems. To begin, determine whether the problem is with your battery, starter, or alternator. If none of these components are faulty, your oil pressure switch or ignition switch assembly may be faulty.
This guide has given helpful hints on diagnosing and resolving any of these issues. In the worst-case scenario, however, it could be a serious electrical problem that requires professional auto repair services.